Monthly Archives: November 2012

Found a Magic Lamp – Rubbed It – Made IronPigs Wishes

So – like – ya I recently found this old lamp at an abandoned garage sale which was kind of weird.

Anyway once I got it home and started polishing it POOF to my surprise out popped a genie.

True story…

Further weirdness ensued when the genie revealed himself to be Diggity’s twin brother. However, this dog wore his mustard on the opposite side…

In a shocked tone I yelled “Diggity – you’re moonlighting as a genie? No money cheating at Pork Races?”  The genie replied angrily, “If you want these wishes don’t ever call me by that wiener’s name! My name is Doggity – that knucklehead’s my cousin – twice fried!”

I figured I better start wishin’ before Doggity went missin’.

So I said “Hey Diggity… Doggity… Genie Wienie whatever your name is… How about some really cool seats and concessions and ‘facilities’ and premium seating in the outfield all in a scaled down version of Wrigley Field’s ‘rooftops’?” Twas my first wish…

Somethin’ like that there

I muttered… construct it somewhere over or near the “batters eye” and name it Thompson Alley. The Noise Nation Bleachers would also be acceptable. The Genie scoffed…

For the next wish and I even showed him a pic so he wouldn’t muck it up – a fancy new LCD video scoreboard.

Full LCD Scoreboard – Daktronics!

To go with that Mr. Doggity genie a “ribbon board” all the way around the concourse.

Tie a Video Ribbon ’round the old concourse

Since we’re redecorating how ’bout throwing in a couple outfield video walls there genie.

Try to change the Lottery numbers on that!

I spoke quickly as the Genie started to fade – “Genie how about some new home uniforms and an Italian food vendor and Yocco’s and a swimming pool and no parking (unintelligible) ……. POOF he was gone…

I Dream of Dishing

(P.S. –  have another lamp – haven’t rubbed it – yet…)

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Filed under Coca Cola Park, DiPro's Dish, Lehigh Valley IronPigs

IronPigs Win Award, Celebrate by Adding More Seats

First of all, congratulations to our IronPigs organization on winning the 2012 Triple-A Freitas Award for sustained excellence.  This was the first year of eligibility for the ‘Pigs as a team needs to be in operation for at least five years.  Here’s more from BaseballAmerica:

“The Freitas Awards, named after longtime minor league baseball ambassador  Bob Freitas, are awarded to honor minor league baseball clubs that show sustained excellence in the business of minor league baseball. Franchises must have been in operation for five seasons before they’re eligible to win.”

Yes, it’s a business award–not a baseball award.  But it’s nice recognition for the effort that the local organization puts in.  And, it should serve as a reminder that we may see other minor league teams emulating some of the things that have been done here in the Lehigh Valley. 

Deeper in the article, though, I noted the following passage:

“The group-seating areas are certainly the hottest tickets in town. Landes said the team  sold out all of its suites and group-seating options before the start of the 2012 season and has already sold about 75 percent of those seats for 2013. In fact, the ballpark has been such a hit that the team is increasing its capacity with an additional 1,000 fixed seats, bringing the total to 9,200. Some of these will be in a new tabletop area called the Bacon Strip overlooking the bullpen—which in Lehigh Valley, of course, is called the Pig Pen.

“We try to take every available spot in the ballpark and be creative with it,” Landes said.”

Now, that sounds suspiciously like the Red Robin Tiki Terrace.  But, I don’t remember it called the Bacon Strip at all.  Could there be more seats in 2013?  Will we start to see construction at Coca Cola Park once again soon?

I’m not sure, but in 2012, it’s not about being right, it’s about being first.  So there you have it.  There might be more seats in 2013.  I offer the following suggestions:

1. To the IronPigs:  Build more parking Porking Spaces.  Seriously.  It got a little tight at times last year.

2. To the fans (NoiseNation): Don’t be cavalier about arriving at the park.  I’m guilty here, as I was often “fashionably” late last year.  That’s when the parking’s the toughest.  Get there a little early if need be. 

More on parking strategies later if it turns out this news item is correct.

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Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Lehigh Valley Loves Varvara!

It’s that time of the year where us Lehigh Valley sports fans sigh, think about the past summer, think about the upcoming spring, then sigh again. That seemingly endless period of downtown for Lehigh Valley professional sports. The IronPigs season is long over. The Rollergirls wrapped up their season recently. The Steelhawk’s 2013 season is still months away. Some turn to the NFL, but if you’re an Eagles fan you may as well feel the same about this year’s Eagle squad. Those long winter days where even hockey draws interest… but no hockey either.

But then, something catches your eye and you realize there’s a gem of an athlete touring the world who resides in our very own Lehigh Valley!

Currently ranked #21 in the world, the Lehigh Valley’s own Varvara Lepchenko has competed in the 2012 Olympics, the Austrailian Open, French Open and Wimbleton to name a few.

Photo from the Varava Lepchenko Fan Page on Facebook.

The Horn & Bell was recently able to get in touch with Varvara for the Noise Nation’s Inaugural edition of 10 Questions to Get to Know You.


1.When did you first start playing tennis and how did you decide this was your life’s path?

I started when i was 7. My dad got into it, I had a lot of energy and he was worried I would hurt myself ,so he decided to bring in to this sport cause it was passion of his and he also played so he started me there.

2.You recently broke into the Top 20 rankings, how does that feel?

It feels great and it just proves again and again that hard work is always paying off.

3.Describe to us your favorite moment of the Olympics.

Walking at the opening ceremony was one of the greatest moments and hanging out with all the athletes at the village.

4.How many tournaments have you played in this year?

I played in 26 tournaments this year

5.Tell us about your best moment in Tennis all time.

My best moment is yet to come.

6.Tell us about your funniest moment in Tennis.

It was in 2010 at the French Open one of the players took my bag instead of theirs and it was an evening before my match. I panicked and was looking for it all over the place. But then he found me and gave it back.

7.How did you choose the Lehigh Valley as a place to move to?

Just like the weather and the outdoors there.

8.What are your favorite places, things to do for fun in the Lehigh Valley?

I like going to Beltzville lake and just chill out and swim. Lehigh mall is nice place to shop.

9.Do you have or would like any pets?

I adopted kitten from Pets mart near Lehigh mall.

10.Do you enjoy any other sports?

I like different sports,but with my schedule it’s tough to follow them. I like soccer, American football and basketball.

Her best moment is yet to come! I love that! I was able to see Varvara in action during the US Open this season and she is a true example of how hard work and effort pay off!

I also found some great video footage on youtube:

The Noise Nation will be keeping up with her career and cheering her on as loudly as we can. (I’m not sure of Noise and cheering rules for Tennis yet) :-)

Good Luck Varvara! The Lehigh Valley loves you!!

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Filed under Noise Nation-Dan, Varvara Lepchenko

Phillies Sign 3B Josh Fields to Minor League Deal

If you’ve got Kevin Frandsen penciled in as your opening day starter in Philadelphia, you can probably pencil in Josh Fields for 3B at Coca Cola Park.  Of course, injuries and spring training performance could alter things.  In case you missed it, from the comments section of the previous post, here’s what our own Decal has on Josh Fields:

Decal:

“Ten years ago Josh Fields was a star third baseman and star quarterback at Oklahoma State University. He was an all Big 12 conference player for the OSU baseball team and was the first QB in school history to pass for over 3,000 yards in a single season for the OSU football team. In 2004, he signed with the Chicago White Sox after being drafted in the 1st round, 18th overall, of the MLB draft. That was 2 picks after Toronto selected former Ironpigs pitcher David Purcey and 3 picks before the Phillies selected Greg Golson. By 2008 Fields was playing 3B for the White Sox where he hit .244 with 23 HR. In 2009 he was at third base when Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game, defeating Tampa Bay 5-0. Four of those 5 runs came in the 2nd inning on a Josh Fields grand slam. After the 2009 season Josh was traded to Kansas City and he bounced around with different organizations since then, including a brief stint in Japan. He played for Albuquerque in the PCL in 2012 and hit .322 with 13 HR and 71 RBI. His OBP was an impressive .392 and his SLG was .488.
The Phillies signed Fields to a minor league contract today with an invitation to spring training. While his goal is obviously to make the Phillies out of spring training, he would be a welcome addition to the Ironpigs for the 2013 season.”

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Filed under From the Desk of Decal, Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Join the Club!

The IronPigs have a club for each and for all.  Here’s a quick look at what’s available this year:

1. IronHeads (Men > 21)

How Much?: $30.00

What Do You Get?

T-Shirt (OK)

Beer Mug (Cool!)

Viewing Party – on a non-game night (meh)

Beer Tasting Event – non-game night (Very Cool!)

Group Night (whatever)

2. Diamond Divas (Women > 21) (not my word, Emily)

How Much?: $30

What Do You Get?

T-Shirt, Martini Glass, Fantasy Camp, Martini Night (non-game night), Group Night

3. Silver Pigs (Age 60+)

How Much?: $25

What Do You Get?

T-Shirt, Duffle Bag, Ballpark Bingo, Player Q&A/Camp, Group Night

4. IronPiglets (Kids 12/under)

How Much?: $20

What Do You Get?

T-Shirt, Membership Card, Limited Edition Bobblehead, Newsletter, 1 Ticket, 2 Vouchers (M-Th)

 

OK, so there’s nothing for teens.  But, it’s good to see that they’re mixing it up a bit.  These are a little different from previous.  Join up!

 

In other news:

Four players were added to the Phillies 40-man roster today.  The significance is that these players are now protected from the upcoming “Rule 5″ draft where they could be selected by another team.  These players are:

Trevor May:  I have the one-time top prospect starting the season in Reading again, but you never know.  He spent the whole season there last year and a good spring might have him in Allentown this April.

Jon Pettibone: We’ve seen him already.  I do expect him to be back with the IronPigs this year right off the bat–and a may have a shot to get some innings in Philly at some point this year.

Ethan Martin:  The RH starter came over from the Dodgers in the Victorino deal.  He ended 2012 throwing very well for the R-Phils (I’m still gonna call them that for now).  I would expect he’d start there again, but that we’ll see him promoted during the season–perhaps when Cloyd gets called up on the Worley-plan.

Zach Collier: The speedy outfielder just finished his stint in the Arizona Fall League and acquitted himself quite well.  He spent last season crushing the ball in Clearwater.  He’s had his share of difficulties with injuries and suspensions, but the potential is there.  I would expect to see him spend the whole season in Reading this year.

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Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Meet Ray Burris

On Thursday it was announced that Ray Burris will be the new pitching coach for the Triple A Lehigh Valley Ironpigs.   He spent the 2012 season in a similar role with the Erie SeaWolves , the Double A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers in the Eastern League.  The 62 year old Burris was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1972 and made his big league debut in 1973.  He pitched in the major leagues for 15 seasons and finished his career with 108 wins and 134 losses.  His best years with the Cubs came from 1975 to 1977.  In 1975 he was 15-10 4.12,  in 1976 he again won 15 games while losing 13 with an ERA of 3.11 and in 1977 he was 14-16 4.72.  He started 39 games that year which was third most in the National League behind only Phil Niekro of the Braves and Steve Rogers of the Expos.  The Cubs traded Burris to the Yankees for Dick Tidrow in 1979 and after a short stay with the Yankees he pitched for the Mets, Expos, Athletics, Brewers and Cardinals.   He pitched in the postseason in 1981 for Montreal, losing Game 3 of the NLDS to Larry Christenson and the Phillies by a 6-2 score and then started 2 games vs. the Dodgers in the NLCS going 1-0 0.53 in 2 starts.  He threw a complete game shutout in Game 2, defeating Fernando Valenzuela by a 3-0 score.  In game 5 of the best of 5 series he went 8 innings and allowed just 1 run in a game the Expos eventually lost by a 2-1 score.  In his 15 year big league career he threw 10 shutouts, 4 of them coming during the 1976 season.

I’m sure Ray will be a welcome addition to the 2013 Lehigh Valley Ironpigs coaching staff.   He should have some good young talent to work with.

In other Phillies minor league news, Andy Tracy has been promoted to the position of Minor League Hitting Coordinator.   Sounds like a good opportunity for Andy.  It also means the Phillies will be searching for a new manager for the Williamsport Crosscutters.

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More on Reading: New Name Revealed!

Ch-ch-Changes
Just gonna have to be a different man

- David Bowie

It’s going to be way better, and that’s no crap.

- Scott Hunsicker, General Manager of the Reading…

It’s always about the money.

- Truth

——————————————————————————

The research team here in Kram’s Korner has been hard at work on this Reading name issue.  Here’s what we’ve learned:

Since the big announcement last week, I haven’t met one person in favor of the Reading Phillies’ name change.  Some are agnostic, “Well, what’s the new one?”  And, others have gone so far as to cancel their season tickets and/or vow never to return to First Energy in Baseballtown.  There are questions, though.  Questions that need answers.  Here they are:

1. Why would they do this?

2. What’s the new name?

3. What were they thinking?

4. Who’s fault is this?

5. No, seriously, why would they do such a thing?

Theory:  They’re doing this to sell more hats and jerseys.

In an interview with republicanherald.com writer Anthony Burkhart, Reading GM Scott Hunsicker says that merchandise sales account for only 5% of overall revenue, and that’s not enough reason to change 46 years of tradition.

As I said in my response to Dan’s post last week, I think this is only partially correct.  It’s not about selling more Reading hats and Reading jerseys; it’s about Philadelphia.  If you want to buy a Phillies hat or a Phillies jersey, MLB wants you to buy a PHILADELPHIA Phillies jersey.  They don’t want you buying a Reading Phillies jersey.  Or, you  can buy both.  It’s always about the money…

I have only circumstantial evidence to back me up, but here in kram’s korner, we believe that an edict was sent out from MLB to its affiliates some time ago which said this (or, something to this effect):

“Look, we want y’all to have your own identity.  You’ll do better selling hats and jerseys and if your affiliation changes you can maintain that name.  If your identity has a local connection that will help you in your marketing and in connecting with local fans.  We won’t put a time limit on it, but we strongly suggest you make this change.” 

Many affiliates have changed, including the Clearwater Phillies to Threshers, and our rivals to the north, the SWB soon-to-be Trolley Frogs.  I think the PawSox are getting close to phasing out Red Sox in favor of Paw Sox, which everyone calls them anyway.  We’ll have to keep an eye on Gwinnette.

So there’s your reason.  I can’t prove it, but the pieces are starting to fit together.  They say this has been a process 18 months in the making–so they’ve been working on this for a while, until they could find something suitable.  They needed to find something with the Philadelphia connection as the Phillies tradition in Reading probably exceeds any pure local connection (like, say, “engineers” or “trainmen” or something). 

So what did they come up with?

Fightins

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